Netflix has announced that its streaming bitrate will be reduced for its subscribers in South Africa in order to reduce congestion on local networks during to the national 21-day lockdown, MyBroadband reported.
The comes after Netflix decided to reduce its streaming bitrate in Europe earlier in March in the same effort to reduce congestion on networks as its traffic increased due to more people staying home during the lockdown.
The streaming service said it would reduce its bitrate across South Africa and the rest of the continent at midnight on Monday 30 March and this will last for at least 30 days.
Netflix explained that bitrate refers to the number of bits per second transmitted through a network and in the context of streaming, a higher bitrate accommodates better video quality due to more data being streamed per second.
The company said it had found a way to maintain the quality of its video streams while reducing traffic load by 25% despite a lower bitrate usually meaning lower-quality videos for streaming services.
“Given the crisis, we’ve developed a way to reduce Netflix’s traffic on telecommunications networks by 25% while also maintaining the quality of our service,” Netflix said.
“So consumers should continue to get the quality that comes with their plan – whether it’s Ultra-High, High, or Standard Definition.”
“We believe this will provide significant relief to congested networks and we will be deploying it in South Africa and the rest of the continent for the next 30 days.”
Netflix offers a number of bitrate options for each video quality option, and by removing the highest-bitrate steam, it can still offer video streams at the same resolution which use less bandwidth.